BACKGROUND

A story about a Mother and autistic child that were refused a flight with Ryanair at Alicante airport flagged the importance of great customer service for all the wrong reasons. Ryanair tried to charge a £25 carry-on fee for the child’s comfort doll and all hell broke loose.

Jet2 came to the rescue and couldn’t do enough to help the family get home with the minimum of fuss, with a flight attendant being singled out in particular for praise in how she handled the situation.

This story went viral and global and is priceless free advertising and publicity for Jet2, whereas Ryanair were slated for how they handled it.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

We only have to look at Thomas Cook and Jet2 to see how firms fail or thrive based on the promise of going the extra mile and being customer-centric (or not). Both firms are in the same industry yet are poles apart on reputation, awards, profits and a loyal customer following.

I spoke about this with Lady Janey after we were both featured in the Daily Mail for our work as consumer champions in June 2019.

Thomas Cook sadly no longer exists, and I can understand why when a family on a boat and sightseeing trip shared their story about their child being electrocuted on holiday in Greece with me.

Jamie Oliver thought he could put his name to a brand to succeed, yet his chain of restaurants failed on mediocre quality of overpriced food and poor customer service.

In an era where everything is pretty much the same, the one thing that sets a firm apart is great customer service. Personally, I would never fly with Ryanair as I have heard too many bad experiences from friends and in the press, whereas I always try and fly with Jet2 because they always go the extra mile in trying to remedy any issues with no hassle and they have won awards for their customer service.

Another great example is a small chippy I found last Christmas in Benidorm called Northern Sole in the Old Town. Cazzie and Graeme opened it in July 2018 and quickly built up a loyal customer base and following based on 3 cornerstones;

  • Treating their staff well
  • Delivering what the customers want
  • Providing exceptional customer service

I knew I had found something unique there and they are now rated in the top 1% of all food outlets on TripAdvisor in Benidorm, which is quite an achievement.

CUSTOMER LOYALTY

Their menu is continually changing to adapt to what their customers want and they have formed a collaboration with a bar next door as it’s a small venue with limited seating space. This was a shrewd move that benefits both establishments. By doing so, they know how to encourage customer loyalty.

Every business has to be customer-centric to succeed and mine as a writer and author is no different. I try and contact everyone that I know who has bought my consumer book to ask if they were able to resolve their dispute and for feedback. By doing this I am able to establish a relationship with my customers, find out what their stories are and assist them further if necessary.

GOING THE EXTRA MILE

One friend bought my book and whilst she couldn’t quite find what she was looking for in trying to contest a parking ticket, I was able to resolve it anyway by personally intervening and contacting the local Councillor with various legitimate points. She didn’t think she had a leg to stand on, yet I saved her £60 and she will remember me for doing that. I went the extra mile and I would have done that for anyone.

I have also helped others who have bought my book to unlock disputes just by following up on their purchase. Whilst I don’t have to, I see it as part and parcel of my work in engaging with my customers and helping them every step of the way if necessary and doing the right thing. It’s called integrity and that is something that is sorely lacking nowadays. Furthermore, my motto is to educate, inspire and inform and actions speak louder than words.

Which firms would you recommend for great customer service? Which firms would you avoid given how badly they treat their customers?

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